CBC Windsor March 25 COVID-19 update: 4th confirmed local case

Here's a look at what's happening in our area on Wednesday, March 25.

A daily look at what's happening in Windsor-Essex and surrounding regions

Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, provides a daily COVID-19 update each morning. (Amy Dodge/CBC)

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit said a fourth person has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in our area. 

Chief medical officer of health, Dr. Wajid Ahmed, said this latest case was also related to travel, but that it was only "a matter of time" before we see a "community case."

"The risk to Windsor-Essex ... is increasing," said Ahmed. 

The fourth case is a man in his 60s who travelled in the U.S., returning to Canada on March 13. He was seen at the local assessment centre after developing coronavirus symptoms, and was tested on March 20. The health unit reached out to "all contacts" of the man and advised those people to self-isolate and monitor themselves for symptoms. 

"It's just a matter of time before we get there," said Ahmed, explaining that transmission in Detroit is happening within the community. "As much as we can do to prevent transmission in our community, that's what we have to do."

Ahmed explained that community cases are people who have not travelled or had contact with someone who has, and have contracted the virus through someone locally. 

Watch the health unit's Wednesday March 25 update here:

Ahmed said a testing facility has now opened in London, Ont. and he hoped that test results can be returned quickly. 

Here's what else is happening in our area:

Health unit wants tighter borders

On Tuesday the health unit called on both levels of government to clarify and tighten rules around border travel, especially for Canadian workers.

"The U.S.-Canada border continues to be a concern for the residents of Windsor-Essex and for the health unit," said Ahmed. "We are concerned about the travel to and from work in Michigan for our residents of Windsor-Essex ... They may need to go to work, and we're asking for stronger measures."

Ahmed said the number of COVID-19 cases in the City of Detroit alone is nearly on par with the number of cases in the entire province of Ontario. He said he's fearful, since two of the three confirmed cases in Windsor-Essex are people who work in Michigan. 

In an email, Ontario's Public Safety Ministry said they "recognize the importance of maintaining our supply chains and ensuring that people who do essential cross-border work can continue to do so."

"As we take a whole-of-government approach to addressing COVID-19, we are constantly evaluating the situation and considering next steps," reads an except from the Public Safety Ministry's email.

"We will continue to work with health authorities, border officials, provincial and territorial counterparts, municipalities, and our international partners to do what's best for Canadians."

Detroit-area hospital system 'almost at capacity'

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer warned Tuesday that a Detroit-area hospital system was "almost at capacity" treating people with the coronavirus, as the state's stay-at-home order kicked in to reduce the spread.

The governor, speaking about her measure with Detroit radio station WDET-FM, pointed to Beaumont Health, which has eight hospitals in Wayne and Oakland counties and describes itself as Michigan's largest health care system.

"Let's be very clear: Beaumont Health is almost at capacity right now. We have not seen the worst of it yet," she said. "The numbers are going to continue to climb."

Other COVID-19 cases in Windsor-Essex

The health unit confirmed the region's third case of COVID-19 on Monday, informing residents that a man in his late 40s who works in Michigan and lives in Windsor-Essex has been diagnosed. 

The man developed symptoms on March 15 and was tested at the Windsor Regional Hospital assessment and testing centre.

This case has no connection to the two other cases previously confirmed over the weekend by the region's public health unit 

A man in his 20s, who is employed at a healthcare facility in Southeastern Michigan and lives in Windsor-Essex County, tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the health unit said on Saturday. 

A man in his 60s who returned to Windsor after travelling on a Caribbean cruise was confirmed by the health unit on Friday. 

City of Windsor taking steps to ease burden on residents

The City of Windsor said there are child care options available for emergency support workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic. The city is also surveying those workers to gauge the need for an emergency childcare centre in the city. 

Windsor city councillors are set to hold a vote on deferring property tax payments for at least 90 days. 

Council's agenda for another special meeting on Wednesday morning lists property tax relief as an item. 

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